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Camellia sinensis ­ Tea Plant - Theaceae

Camellia sinensis is the plant source of tea, which is the world's most important caffeine beverage. The young processed leaves yield tea. Tea plants are evergreen, medium sized shrubs (4-6 ft., 2-3 m) and can be grown outside in zones 7-9. The tea plant is native to SE Asia. Flowers are solitary in the axils of the leaves, up to 1-1/2 in (4 cm) in diameter, and are fragrant. Camellia sinensis needs full sun to partial shade and prefers a well drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic matter (e.g., 2 parts peat moss or compost to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite). Since root hairs are very fine, plants should never be allowed to dry out. Increase watering when the plant is actively growing or in bloom and fertilize every 2-3 weeks in spring through fall, using a fertilizer for acid loving plants diluted to ½ the recommended strength. Repot in late winter or early spring every 2-3 yrs. Camellia sinensis is propagated by cutting or seed. Soak seeds in warm water for 24 hour and germinate.

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Department of Botany-Microbiology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019 All rights reserved.

©2007 http://www.plantoftheweek.org/ Cal's Plant of the Week

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